Carol's latest book, Gluten-Free Cooking for Two, is now available. Designed for small households, each perfectly-proportioned recipe serves two people. You will eliminate unwanted leftovers and reduce waste when you cook right-size meals with the 125 recipes in this book. Enjoy!! Celebrate with me!!! Gluten-Free Cooking for Two has won two awards: named one of ten "Best Gluten-Free Cooking Books in 2017" by and won a Silver Medal in the 2017 Living Now Book Awards in the "Natural, Nutrition, Organic, Vegetarian" category.
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Watch for Carol on "Creative Living with Sheryl Borden," a PBS-TV show airing on your local PBS station during 2017-2018.

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Whole Grain Sorghum Salad for July 4th Celebrations

July 4th is always the time for traditional summer foods such as wieners, burgers, potato salad, jello, baked beans, coleslaw, and so on. I love those foods because they say “summer” to me.

 Sorghum Salad

Whole Grain Sorghum Salad

But this year, why not change things up by adding a grain salad that is gorgeous and showy and your guests will love.  It can be made ahead, chilled, and then served whenever you like. You can use the shrimp (or not, and make it a vegetarian dish).

In my family, the number of vegetarian members is growing so I’m always looking for protein-rich dishes that they can enjoy…but that everyone else can also eat as well. That way, nobody feels singled out because of what’s on (or not on) their plate. This dish is also a good replacement for the bulgur-based dishes that I see at many picnics.

What is Sorghum?

In case you’re not familiar with it, sorghum is an ancient grain that has been used for over 8,000 years in Africa and Egypt and is increasingly available in the United States. It is the 5th most important cereal grain in the world. Growing up on a farm in eastern Nebraska, we raised sorghum but called it milo back then. It is grown primarily in the south-central states (Nebraska to Texas), but some is grown in other states such as California.

Even as a small child, I could distinguish the stalks of sorghum in our fields from other tall-growing crops like soybeans or corn but I also knew that it was only used for livestock feed. Since then, growers have modified the grain to be “food-grade” and it is now a welcome, nutritious addition to our gluten-free diet. Sorghum flour is readily available in natural food stores and some grocery stores but—until recently—whole grain sorghum was hard to find. Now it is much easier to find and the Bob’s Red Mill brand is sold in natural food stores so that’s where I buy mine.

Whole Grain Sorghum Salad

Reprinted from 125 Gluten-Free Vegetarian Recipes by Carol Fenster (Avery/Penguin Group, 2011)

This whole grain sorghum dish may become one of your all-time favorites.  It’s gorgeous, showy, and hearty….yet light enough for a hot summer day. Plus, it is best served at room temperature (rather than hot or chilled) so it’s perfect for buffets or picnics.

To cook the sorghum:

1              cup uncooked whole grain sorghum (soaked overnight in water to cover)

3/4           teaspoon sea salt, divided

2              cups water

Sherry Vinaigrette Dressing:

2              tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

3              tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1              tablespoon sherry vinegar (or 2 tablespoons for a sharper flavor)

1/8           teaspoon white pepper


1/4           cup shelled raw pumpkin seeds or pine nuts

1              English or hothouse cucumber, unpeeled and chopped

3              green onions, chopped

1              small red bell pepper, chopped, or 12 grape tomatoes, halved

1              small yellow bell pepper, chopped

1/2           cup cooked edamame (or lightly-steamed peas or asparagus)

1/2           cup chopped seasonal fruit (figs, pears, apples, oranges, or dried cranberries)

1/2           cup chopped fresh parsley, plus extra for garnish

1/2           cup chopped fresh cilantro

1/4           cup chopped fresh mint

1/4           cup crumbled feta cheese or queso fresco (optional)

Mixed Greens

12            cooked large whole shrimp, peeled (or more to taste, or omit for vegetarian option)

[1] Drain the soaked sorghum and discard water. In a heavy medium saucepan with a lid, combine sorghum, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, and 2 cups water. Bring to boil. Cover and reduce heat, simmering for 40 to 45 minutes. Transfer to a strainer and drain well. Set aside to cool.

[2] Make the dressing: In a screw-top jar, shake the lemon juice, oil, vinegar, remaining 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt and pepper until thoroughly blended and creamy. Set aside.

[3] Toast pumpkin seeds in a skillet over medium heat, stirring constantly until lightly browned, about 5 minutes.  Set aside.

[4] In a large bowl, combine the sorghum and the vegetables and toss to blend. Add dressing and toss until all ingredients are well coated. Let stand for 20 minutes before serving.

[5] Arrange mixed greens on a large platter, top with salad, arrange shrimp on top, and serve, garnished with fresh parsley. Makes 6 servings.